Can Apprentice Contract Be Terminated after Probationary Period?
Question # 1:
Pak Suzuki has started Apprenticeship Program in the company in May 2018. However, after passage of three months probationary period, evaluation result suggest that performance of few of the apprentices were not found satisfactory in terms of work attitude and absenteeism. Now, Management intends to take action against these apprentices. As the apprentices has already completed their probationary period in August 2018, we would like to ask following questions:
1. Whether Management can terminate them on the basis of their evaluation at this point of time when their probationary period has already been passed?
2. Whether Management can extend their probationary period by one or two months?
Please enlightened us in the light of relevant labor laws.
Deputy Manager – Industrial Relations
Pak Suzuki Motors Co. Ltd.
Port Bin Qasim, KARACHI
Answer # 1:
Answer to the second question first. No probationary period cannot be extended by one or two months. In labour laws, probationary period is fixed in general and no flexibility is given to extend it.
Regarding first question, in all probationary cases, employer as well as employee (or apprentice) can terminate Apprentice Contract for whatever reason. You should have done their performance evaluation after 6, 8 and close to 12 weeks. So you know whether to let the apprentice continue or let him go before the probationary period is expired.
There could be two cases: whether the apprentices started showing poor performance during probationary period in which case its the management's fault for not taking action earlier or they start showing poor performance after the probationary period when they felt relatively secure.
However, after probationary period you can also dismiss them under Sindh Standing Orders Act, 2015 for committing misconduct -- poor work ethics, absenteeism, wasting time or not taking their training seriously. But ensure you have documented all their performance (each late coming, poor work attitude or low work ethics, etc.) so if anyone ask you have complete record.
The good news is that even in case of misconduct (absenteeism, not obeying lawful orders, or not taking their work seriously, etc.) you do not have to take a full blown misconduct enquiry proceedings.
The section 37 of the Apprenticeship Rules 1966 (of Sindh) is precisely for your situation where employer need to take action after...